“You don’t have to be rich to travel well.” -Eugene Fodor
Ready for your next vacay?! Deciding where to go is free. It’s the flight, lodging, food, and drink expenses of where you’re going that quickly add up. Traveling is fun, being broke… not so much. But have no fear, your frugal friend is here! Whenever I’m planning a trip, these websites always cross my mind. Remember, traveling doesn’t have to break the bank if you don’t want it to. Below are ways to travel for free, or at a fraction of the cost:
- AirfareSpot: This is the ONLY website that sends me emails daily that I actually open and read. There’s literally a new deal everyday from multiple parts of the world. Keep in mind that flight deals come and go, so you gotta be quick when booking your trips. I’m talking booking either same day or within 3 or 4 days. The deals are phenomenal, so they won’t last long. I spent 7 days in Costa Rica for $252 thanks to airfarespot.com! Def my fav.
- Travelzoo: Travelzoo is number two on my list because they offer deals on deals on deals. They release a Top 20 every Wednesday, where they showcase the greatest trip deals they’ve found from around the world. For instance, you can spend 8 nights in China for only $398 (flight and lodging included). Once again, you usually have to book within a day or 2 to snag these deals, but mannnn these deals are good!
- Airbnb: Most of us already know about Airbnb. If you don’t, it’s basically where someone rents their house to you while you’re on vacation. It’s an alternative to staying in a hotel. I love Airbnb because not only can you get an entire place to yourself, but you can get an authentic experience (depending on your location and host). Some hosts are more interactive than others, and they will give you advice on where to eat, drink, party, all the local 411. They will also tell you what NOT to do and places you should probably stay away from, which is very helpful when you’re on the road. We’ve had hosts treat us to dinner, drinks, transportation, and an overall good time. Only downside is that sometimes it ends up being just as expensive, if not more expensive than a hotel, after cleaning and service fees. If you have a large group of people, definitely go with this option.
- Couch Surfing: I’ve yet to use Couch Surfing , but I’ve heard great things about it. Crashing on a locals’ couch for free? Why not? This option will save you loads of money on accommodations, and you will truly get an authentic experience. This is an effective way to exchange stories, step outside of your comfort zone, and possibly make lifetime friends. I’m a bit skeptical sleeping on someone’s couch, but I’ve just gotta keep reminding myself that not everyone is a serial killer. When I backpack through Europe, this will DEFINITELY be an option. I’m even thinking about hosting a few international globetrotters myself 🙂
- Worldpackers: Worldpackers is an amazing community where you exchange work for accommodation as you travel the world. This gives you the opportunity to help in hostels, home-stays, NGOs and Eco-Projects. Help ranges from teaching English (insert TEFL link) to farming, to animal care. There’s a vast number of possibilities in almost every continent. Some hosts will provide meals along with your accommodations, it really depends on what you’re looking for. This is a full dive into a cultural experience. There’s no better way to give back and simultaneously save some cash. I signed a one-year deal with Worldpackers for $49. From there, you create your own profile (kind of like Facebook), talk about your experience, post pictures, and reach out to hosts. In most cases, your profile serves as your resume, which is great because hosts can reach out to you if they’re looking for an extra set of hands. I’m 100% down to use Worldpackers.
- Wanderu: This is my go-to for train and bus travel in the States. I’ve booked a bus from DC to New York for $1 through Wanderu! It’s basically a search engine for bus and train tickets. Everything you need is on one site, which saves you from jumping from website to website. It’s available throughout North America and Europe, and I highly recommend it.
- SkyScanner and 8. Skiplagged: When Airfarespot can’t deliver, SkyScanner and Skiplagged are my go to sites for flights. They’re also available on the app store, which is a bit quicker and efficient. I’ve caught some pretty good deals through these engines, and it’s nice to see flights from multiple airlines in one place. It also gives you the option to filter through what time you want to take off, land, and how many stops you prefer. It’s pretty cool and very user-friendly.
I’ve been traveling the world for about 4 years, so I’m sure there’s tons of apps, websites, and programs that I’ve yet to discover. What are
some of your go-to money saving websites? Please feel free to drop them in the comments below. Ya girl is always looking for new ways to save.